(This article originally appeared as "Pawn Connections" in the Fall 2018 issue of National Pawnbrokers magazine)
I remember when Facebook first came to my attention back in 2005. My college classmates were talking about a website where you could “connect” with one another and post messages on each other’s “walls”. Our school had just become eligible to be part of this “social network” and I though hey, why not sign up and see what this is all about. Little did I know that within a decade, this Place for Friends (Facebook’s original tagline) would expand into the realm of marketing and sales, eventually becoming the third most visited website in the world.
I’ve been on Facebook since 2005, Twitter since 2009. There’s been dozen, if not hundreds, of other social media sites and platforms that have come and gone since then. Some for photos, some for selling items, some just for updating the weather, but they all have one thing in common; user engagement.
Engaging with your customers in this digital age is more important than many of us realize. We are all connected online 24/7, absorbing information faster than ever before. You want your advertising to be were your customers (and potential customers) are and right now, that’s online. There are 400 new users joining Facebook every minute. It’s a captive audience, they’re already going to be there. We all need to be engaging on social media just as much if not more than our customers are on a daily basis.
In this digital age, we’re more likely to use online listings to make an informed decision on something we’re looking to buy before making the exhausting journey from our couch to the store and back again. Social media sites recognized this and started incorporating eCommerce into their platforms. You can now log onto Facebook, like your aunt’s photo of her dog, comment on a friend’s status, and buy a new set of tires for your car, all without having to get out of your bathrobe.
At Data Age/PawnMaster, we realized early on how important it was to connect and engage with our customers on social media. For us, it’s not just a place to sell ourselves or our services, but to educate our clientele as well. It should be no different for pawn shop owners; you have a returning audience of clientele who know you and know your shop. Start throwing photos of new arrivals up on your social media sites. Run a promotion, “Mention this Facebook ad and get 10% off your purchase.” Post a short video of your employees doing their daily duties. Your followers are going to notice and remember these engagement, cementing you further as a destination they want to frequent.
Making a statement and being memorable is the key to long-lastingness on social media. I’ve seen some great videos and advertisements from various pawn shops and the connecting thread has been they don’t take themselves too seriously. Have fun with what you’re posting and you’ll see the likes start rolling in, and after that comes the revenue.
Promoting items may seem daunting when it comes to posting items you have for sale to social media sites, but there are solutions out there. We recently released an integration that allows our users to post in-store items directly to their Facebook Business page. Thinking of social media as another channel for you to advertise your items is important as more and more people turn to online sources to research and purchase their items. Social media will continue to expand and evolve, and we believe in it as a viable sales platform, so much that we’ve integrated it into both our on-site and cloud products. Take your time getting to know the ins-and-outs of social media and soon you’ll be posting with the best of them.